6 Jun 2011

Surprise trip to Afghanistan by Gates

4:30 pm on 6 June 2011

United States Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who is stepping down at the end of June, has made a surprise trip to Afghanistan.

Speaking in Kabul, he warned Afghans they must take more responsibility for their own security before the withdrawal of international troops by 2014.

Mr Gates said operations against the Taliban had been effective over the past year, with notable gains achieved in the south.

He also expressed ''regret'' over recent civilian deaths caused by NATO air strikes.